Tea World

Lesson 32

Fertilizer Application in Mature Tea

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Fertilizer application is one important operation in a tea plantation. The doses of fertilizer application depend on a number of factors such as the yielding ability of the section, the type of prune/skiff, soil fertility status etc. For efficient management, you should have a proper manuring programme and accordingly you should procure the fertilizers in time.
Secondly, it is also important to apply the fertilizers at proper time adopting suitable method.    
Guidelines for fertilizer application:

(A) Soil application


Key Points

1.Time of application i) Apply fertilizers after receiving first spring rain during March-April on moist soil.
ii) Soil should be moist upto a depth of 45 cm.
iii) Apply fertilizer on weed free clean ground.
iv) Inunpruned sections, apply fertilizers after the bushes have made some growth.
v) In prune tea or skiffed tea, apply fertilizers after the bushes have produced a few leaves.
vi) Do not apply fertilizers during heavy rainy days.
2. Number of Splits i) Apply fertilizers in two splits.
  ii)  Apply the first split during March-April and the second split during August-September.
iii) Apply 60% N, 100%  and 60%  in the first split and 40% N and 40 %  in the second split.
3.Selection and Procurement of Fertilizers i) Select the fertilizers available in the store or in the market.
ii) Procure fertilizers from a reliable source or dealer.
4.Computing the Quantity of Fertilizers i) Determine the rate of application of NPK on the basis of average yield during the last pruning cycle and soil potash status.
ii) Calculate the total quantity of individual fertilizer material required for the whole section/area.
iii) Calculate the total quantity of different fertilizer material required for the split.
iv) Apply secondary nutrients like Sulphur at the recommended dose along with NPK fertilizers.
5.Mixing of Fertilizers i) Weigh the computed amount of fertilizer separately.
ii) Mix the fertilizer near the site of application.
iii) Use rotary drums for proper mixing of the fertilizers
iv) Alternatively, spread the different fertilizers in alternative layers on a tarpaulin sheet, fold it backward and forward and mix the fertilizers thoroughly using a hoe.
v) Good supervision for thorough mixing of the fertilizers is a must.
vi) If the fertilizer mixture weighs more than 75 kg, mix the fertilizers in two or more batches for uniform mixing.
vii) Apply the mixture as soon as possible.
6.Method of Application i) Broadcast the fertilizer mixture uniformly over the area covered by the tea canopy.
ii) Take care not to apply the fertilizers on or near the collar of the bush and on the leaves.
iii) Note that fertilizers are not applied in lumps on the collar region.This may cause injury to the roots.
iv) Preferably use the plastic buckets of convenient size for carrying the fertilizers inside the section. 

(B)Foliar Application


Key Points

1 Application of Nutrients and Care i) Apply recommended doses of NPK mixture, Zinc sulphate () and Magnesium sulphate () and also, if necessary, Manganese sulphate () and Boric acid, as foliar spray.
ii) Apply foliar spray at the recommended periods of the year.
iii) Most fertilizers, except lime sulphur,are compatible with fungicides and pesticides.
iv) Check compatibility chart prior to mixing, if you wish to mix.
v) While mixing,see that the total solids do not exceed 4 % (8 kg in 200 litres of water) in mature tea and 2 % in young tea.
vi) Monitor the spraying equipment and also the speed of the person who is spraying to avoid drip (excessive spray fluid) on the plant parts, as it may cause sun scorching of the foliage.
vii) On hot sunny days, spray during late afternoon/evening.
viii) Spray the fluid on the under surface of the leaves also.
ix) Use hand sprayer or power sprayer as per requirement and availability.
x) Clean the sprayers thoroughly after spraying.

Take note of the following

  • Fertilizers should be mixed thoroughly.
  • Fertilizer mixture must be applied uniformly.
  • Fertilizers should be mixed just before application.
  • Do not spray fertilizer mixture on hot sunny day.
  • Never use sprayers used for herbicide application.

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